Trump says he will add $1b to food for fam­i­lies pro­gram

The Pak Banker - - INTERNATIO­NAL BUSINESS -

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said on Mon­day his ad­min­is­tra­tion would pro­vide an ad­di­tional $ 1 bil­lion to a pro­gram that pro­vides food to Amer­i­can fam­i­lies deal­ing with the eco­nomic hard­ship from the coro­n­avirus pan­demic. The Farm­ers to Fam­i­lies Food Box pro­gram is one of sev­eral gov­ern­ment ef­forts to help strug­gling Amer­i­cans.

It aims to buy food from farm­ers who typ­i­cally pro­duced for restau­rants but lost busi­ness be­cause of coro­n­avirus- re­lated shut­downs, and de­liver it to the mil­lions of peo­ple who were thrown out of work or were oth­er­wise hurt by the pan­demic.

"To­day I am proud to an­nounce that we will pro­vide an ad­di­tional one bil­lion dol­lars to fund the Farm­ers to Fam­i­lies Food Box pro­gram," Trump said dur­ing an visit to a North Carolina food pack­ing plant.

Reuters re­ported in July that the gov­ern­ment had de­liv­ered far less food aid un­der the up to $ 3 bil­lion pro­gram an­nounced in April than it had pledged by the end of June, cit­ing food banks man­agers and data from the U. S. De­part­ment of Agricultur­e ( USDA). The pro­gram was crit­i­cized by food banks, an­a­lysts and some U. S. sen­a­tors, who said con­tracts were of­ten awarded to in­ex­pe­ri­enced ven­dors that were un­able to source the food and de­liver it in a timely man­ner.

Ac­cord­ing to the USDA web­site, the de­part­ment aims to com­plete the pur­chase of up to $ 2.7 bil­lion of food un­der the aid pro­gram by the end of Au­gust.

The White House said in a state­ment on Mon­day that un­der the pro­gram, more than 70 mil­lion boxes of food had been de­liv­ered to food banks and non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Mean­while, Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Joe Bi­den and his run­ning mate, Ka­mala Har­ris, will be tested reg­u­larly for COVID- 19, an aide said on

Mon­day, as the cam­paign pre­pares for the pos­si­bil­ity of more pub­lic events in the run- up to Novem­ber's elec­tion.

Since the coro­n­avirus be­gan spread­ing widely in the United States in March, Bi­den has done few pub­lic events, most of them close to his Delaware home.

But fol­low­ing his for­mal nom­i­na­tion at last week's Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion, the cam­paign is ex­pand­ing its health pro­to­cols in a new phase of the race that could see the for­mer vice pres­i­dent in closer prox­im­ity to the pub­lic. "Con­sis­tent with the trans­parency Vice Pres­i­dent Bi­den has demon­strated, we will make pub­lic if ei­ther the Vice Pres­i­dent or Se­na­tor Har­ris ever has a con­firmed, pos­i­tive case of COVID- 19," a cam­paign aide told Reuters.

The aide said Bi­den, 77, Har­ris, 55, and key staff who in­ter­act with them would be tested "on a reg­u­lar ba­sis," in line with the ad­vice of med­i­cal ad­vis­ers. "This is what re­spon­si­ble lead­er­ship looks like," the per­son said.

Re­porters have fre­quently asked Bi­den whether he has been tested for COVID- 19, the dis­ease caused by the coro­n­avirus, and he has al­ways an­swered no. He has crit­i­cized Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump's han­dling of the virus, which has killed more than 176,000 Amer­i­cans, as dis­as­trous.

Dur­ing cam­paign ap­pear­ances, many broad­cast on­line, Bi­den con­sis­tently wears masks and main­tains dis­tance to show his ad­her­ence to pub­lic health guide­lines.

By con­trast, Trump, 74, who will face Bi­den in the Nov. 3 elec­tion, down­played the virus in its early stages, once re­ferred to mask- wear­ing as po­lit­i­cally cor­rect and has been re­luc­tant to wear a face cov­er­ing him­self.

Trump in July wore a mask in pub­lic for the first time dur­ing the pan­demic, a shift in his tone to en­cour­age Amer­i­cans to wear them as the coun­try be­gan to see a resur­gence of cases.

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